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moulder vs planner3/12
If we purchase a moulder can we get away with just straight line ripping and running our rips through the moulder .eliminating the planner?
In theory, yes. But if the rips you're feeding it are twisted, wavy, or badly bowed, they will come out the other end a little better but not perfect. The pressure from all the feed rollers will squeeze those inconsistencies out as it goes past the cutterheads and then spring back when the pressure is released. If you need perfectly flat and straight pieces for door stiles & rails, you might need to face joint your rips after cutting them to a rough length for whatever you're building. In my shop, we probably have to do that to about 20% of the pieces we S4S in our moulder. To us, it's well worth the extra effort as it makes glue ups, shaping, ect. much easier.
We do not run a single thing through our moulders without planing them first.
Yes, "modern" moulders have the ability to flatten and straighten to some degree, certainly a lot more than "traditional" ones. But, it's a far cry from what is possible.
The vast majority are run through our double surfacer, which has the "finger feed system" and does a pretty good job of face jointing. A small percentage (probably less than 5%) get actually face jointed by hand, either because of how twisted/warped they are, or how critical straightness is. We even rejoint edges after ripping if stress has caused pieces to side-bend.
However, I know many shops that just rip and mould. You certainly CAN do it, it's a matter of how picky you and your customers are.
Ideally, David's way is best: Get the faces peeled off and rough flattened before moulding. We buy H&M material in smaller quantities and our best suppliers use a good double planer. The moulder helps get rips flatter, but is not great for netting long, flat boards. We exclude the feed rollers before the first jointing head, which helps.